The almost perfect HP notebook

I placed an order for a new notebook last week as soon we will be needing two of them around the house. Obviously I will get the new one and the 3 ½ year old notebook will get passed down to Deb to use.

A little side note here before I continue – although the old notebook is 3 ½ years old it still has a reasonable specification and can run Vista with the Aero interface comfortably. This is because when I bought it, I avoided all of the cheap, entry-level notebooks, and bought one that should last for 5 years.

That side note is important as when I came to buy a new notebook for myself I wanted it to be able to last for about 5 years. So the only way to do that is to spend as much as you can so that you get all the latest components. My budget for the new notebook was around $2500 (ex GST). I posted a while back about the specs in a notebook I was looking for:

My requirements so far are:

  • Must be compatible with my docking station – i.e. it must be an HP.
  • Must have high resolution.
  • Must have at least an Intel T7200 processor.
  • Must have at least 1GB RAM, with a free slot.
  • Must have dedicated graphics card with dedicated memory.

Some “nice to haves” are:

  • 802.11 n (or draft-N?) wireless connectivity
  • Must be reasonably mobile, i.e. no 17 inch monster displays on this notebook.
  • 100GB or bigger SATA drive.
  • Fingerprint reader, or other enhanced security.

Despite the fact that I said that it had to be an HP to fit in with my docking station, I did look at IBM and Apple notebooks too. IBM have some very good notebooks that matched the specs above but none so good that warranted buying a new docking station too. The Apple notebooks are beautiful works of art and have great specifications. There’s also the added benefit of getting to play with OSX too, but the MacBook Pro was just a tad too expensive and the cheaper MacBook wasn’t as good as I wanted.

While shopping around I further refined the specs I wanted to this:

  • 14.1″ screen size with 1440×900 resolution
  • T7500 processor
  • 1GB RAM with a free memory slot
  • 7200RPM hard drive – 80GB or larger
  • Dedicated graphics card

Unfortunately, in HPs latest notebook range (with the Santa Rosa chipsets) there wasn’t a 14.1″ screen with 1440×900 resolution so I was a bit stuck. I could go up to a 15.4″ screen which but I wanted the portability of the smaller form-factor. I had some hope restored, though, when I spoke to the HP notebook product manager in NZ and he let me know that they did have the 1440×900 screens coming out soon in their 6910p notebooks.

Although this model isn’t yet on the HP NZ website, I’ve placed an order for the top-of-the-line 6910p which has the following specs:

  • 14.1″ screen size with 1440×900 resolution
  • T7700 processor – 2.4GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 4 MB L2 cache
  • 2GB RAM (2 x 1GB)
  • 7200RPM hard drive – 120GB
  • Dedicated graphics card – ATI X2300
  • 802.11abgn, and Vodafone 3G Broadband
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • along with the usual stuff found on a notebook…

This notebook exceeds all of the specifications I wanted and adds some of the “nice-to-haves” too, such as the N-draft wireless access, fingerprint scanner, and even wireless broadband if I sign up for a data plan with Vodafone. All this in a compact and light (2.0kg) form factor.

So is this my perfect notebook? Not quite – I suppose that all notebooks could get thinner and lighter but this is pretty good for now. The only feature that I can think of that this notebook is missing is a built in camera. I really like the idea of always having the camera ready and waiting without the need to plug in cables.

Update: Mauricio has just blogged about an interesting request that HP have put out to the blogosphere:

The HP product design team wanted to reach out to users and invited some bloggers and industry experts to relay to them what consumers want in a laptop.

My response to that would be a thinner, lighter 6910p, that matches the specs above but with a built-in camera.

[tags]hp,notebook,geekzone,amanzi,stuart maxwell,6910p,santa rosa,ibm,apple,macbook[/tags]

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